neubau meets Jennifer Bitsche of Hingucker & Faceprint: discussing her blogging and greater eyewear empire with sustainability and style
It takes a certain degree of drive, passion and above all self-confidence to even imagine the level of success which Austrian creative and business queen Jennifer Bitsche has achieved. She’s the founder of Faceprint, a distinctive eyewear blog dedicated to exploring the increasingly diverse range of eyewear products and optomical innovations, and together with her husband she runs one of the most daringly cool and aesthetically innovative eyewear concept stores in Austria: Hingucker. With the intention to provide an honest and insightful perspective, Jennifer has been able to craft a business model that offers its customers the chance to learn specifics about a product; where it comes from, how its designed and how it can be improved.
In an age where marketing aims to curate a false truth for the sake of income, this honest concept seems to be something hard to come by. Above all, Jennifer has provided a rare thing, a brand and business built with the desire to inform and inspire. We got the chance to speak with this creative visionary behind the artistry, providing customers with a unique perspective on the innovation and extraordinary designs found in the wide range of eyewear.
You clearly have a special passion for eyewear and product design, what is it that you find so fascinating about eyewear?
If you look somebody in the face, glasses are the first thing you will recognize. With every style and color, the wearer stets an individual statement. So I look at a face and always ask myself, what's the story behind this face?
Your husband is an optometrist and has collaborated with you on the development of your concept store, Hingucker, and it seems that each of you holds a specific skill set and different kind of interest in eyesight. How does your relationship inspire your brand and its growth?
As you already said, my husband is the optometrist and has a deep professional knowledge. I studied marketing and was always focused on recognising and searching for trends. Personally, I do not chase every single trend, I want to have a deeper knowledge of it and always have a proof of quality and design. Always staying true is one of the most important things. Also, our range in Hingucker is not persuaded by trends that come and go. We stick to quality pieces that we know will last the test of time.
How do you, as a couple, balance working together in a professional & practical business partnership with your romantic relationship?
We have clearly set our responsibilities, but that was also easy because of our education. Honestly, we really talk a lot about our business, our goals and our vision, but we do try to talk less about our company, as we don't really separate business from free time. Basically, both our relationship and our business represent our future and so we have tried to make the best out of everything.
All photographs by Marina Schedler
How can designers, store owners and advocates like yourself maintain the balance between the increasing demand for fashionable products with the need to create and sell sustainably?
Sometimes you have to think transversely and make a step out of the box. Have a goal, have a focus and stay on your path. Then you will find the perfect products concerning sustainability, design or quality for you and your customers. Nowadays sustainability is not just nice, these days it's indispensable. Naturally, you can't change everything in your business in one day, but if you focus on goals and make it step by step, you're on the right way.
Both Faceprint and Hingucker have emerged from their humble beginnings as success stories and their reach is only ever-expanding! How did you find the transition from blogger to business owner and where do you see your business moving from here?
It's not really a transition, because both of them are my business and my passion. Faceprint is my creative path and visual space to bring you closer to the eyewear industry. Hingucker is my physical path to show in a more tangible space that eyewear is not just a nice accessory but also a strong statement and necessity. But Hingucker is more than just eyewear, Hingucker is more like a living room, where you can find products for yourself, like interior items, books, care products, Gin & Whiskey, jewellery and so on. All of them are specific pieces, with good quality, awesome design and of course, with a story behind them.
Do you remember your first pair of glasses? How has your style and relationship to your glasses changed?
Oh yes, I do. And it was horrible. I really hated to wear my speckled blue glasses and the teacher at my school always forced me to wear the glasses otherwise I had to sit in the front row. Time and style have since been changing and I’ve been constantly looking for more acceptable and awe-inspiring glasses. The more I was getting to know this branch, different labels and the possibilities, the more I was getting passionate about it. I really like to see fancy and colourful glasses on others, but I am more the type who suits or prefers the minimalist, laid back style. I always want to feel comfortable in the clothes and glasses I wear, with effortless ease and true style.